content strategy

Tips for Brainstorming Blog Topics

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56 percent of businesses that blogged at least monthly
acquired customers through their blogs

~ HubSpot

The decision to start a blog is a smart strategy for your business to build relationships with your customers and become more visible online: search engines give a higher ranking to sites that update their sites regularly with relevant, quality content. Whether you decide to blog monthly, weekly, or even daily, ultimately you will ask the question:

What am I going to blog about?

Every online business should create a content strategy that attracts the right viewers to their site, captures their interest, and converts visitors to customers or fans. A content strategy can evolve and change over time as the business evolves and changes, but investing the time to create a content strategy will payoff when you're too busy to come up with blog ideas.

Blog Topics For Any Business

1.  Questions you are asked by your customers, suppliers, or fans

The chances are if one customer or supplier asks a question, other customers have the same question but just haven't asked yet. Your website may have a FAQ page. Perhaps your sales team has questions they are asked regularly maybe you have a comment or feedback form on your site.

An ongoing Q and A blog column provides information your customers need to know in a location they can easily find it: right on your website.

2.  Seasonal and special events or news

Whether it's Christmas or summer or national hot dog day, seasonal events and promotions are a good topic for business blogging. Nearly every business, service or nonprofit sees changes in their activity level due to seasonal shifts. You probably already know the reasons your business activity shifts during the calendar year: use the seasons as a blog topic to educate or entertain or provide additional benefits to your followers.

•    seasonal promotions or special hours or customer events •    special uses for your products during different times of year •    photos of your team at a special event

3. Your hobby or passion

Some businesses truly don't have a product or service that can attract a fan base, or that they want to blog about. Some businesses instead blog about something they are passionate about, or that their customers are passionate about. If you own a small business but don't have a service that you want to write about, think about why you opened this business, what your employees care about, what your customers care about. Blog about topics you and your customers care about.

For example, you may not want to write about the technical benefits of your product line for your auto parts business.  But your customer base may be big NASCAR fans, just like you are. Writing about the NASCAR circuit and racing news on your blog could attract a big following who reads your blog, make comments, and share your stories. A highly engaged fan base will help your search ranking, but also provide information that is relevant to your customers.

4.  Fun information

Does your receptionist or the delivery guy have a recipe everyone raves about at the monthly team potluck? Share that recipe with a photo of your staff member: keeping your website and blog personal is an excellent strategy for building relationships with your readers.

5. Customer news

Instead of focusing your blog on your business, talk about your customers: who they are, what they do, what they care about.  A blog can entertain as well as educate: we've all seen photos of travelers holding up their daily newspaper in a far-off location: people like to know you're interested in them, and customers - and potential customers - like to see who else is using your product.

•    spotlight your longtime client who coaches Little League and the team just went to the finals •    introduce a new client who just moved to the area and has a business •    congratulate a donor who reached a career milestone

Tip: Sometimes writers block hits, and you know the topics you want to blog about, you just can't think of what to write about today. There are several easy to use blog topic generators that can help you come up with specific blog topics or ideas. HubSpot's Blog Topic Generator is a free tool: all you do is enter 3 words, and see what blog topics pop up. If you're not inspired, try it again, put the words in a different order, use different words: play around with it and see what pops up. I tried the words

business        blog          topics

and Blog Generator suggested the following 5 blog topics:

Your blog can be technical information you need to share with customers, motivational images and videos and quotes that inspire your success, or fun information you want to share. A blog is your opportunity to build a relationship with your customers and grow your fan base - and help your SEO while you're at it.

For More Information on Finding Business Blogging Topics
Entrepreneur: Need Ideas for Your Business Blog?
Business2Community: Content Topics and Ideas for Your Blog

Why Your Small Business Needs a Content Strategy

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Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

~ Content Marketing Institute

Every small business has heard the same advice:

  • you need to be online
  • you need a blog
  • you have to be on social media
  • you need to use keywords
  • you need to be more visual

But the advice small business owners really need to hear is:

You need a content marketing strategy.

Content marketing is the foundation for driving traffic to your website to increase engagement and build relationships that convert to sales. Every business' content marketing strategy should be unique: just as your business is unique. What works for your business may not work for the business next door. To evaluate if your content works you need a plan with definable goals.

 content strategy is planning, management and delivery of content

Creating a content strategy will help you define and strategize your content and delivery plan so you always have a fresh content stream, and can plan ahead for seasonal business, special events, and busy seasons when you're just too busy to be developing fresh content. You need to know your content mix: your who, what, when, why and how's!

Your content strategy identifies your:

  • target audiences
  • tone, voice and personality
  • social media channels
  • blog topics and themes
  • repurposing content strategy
  • content distribution channels
  • keywords and hashtags
  • visual marketing plan: images, videos and and infographics
  • blog authors
  • social media sharing strategy
  • industry event calendar
  • business sales cycle
  • tools and resources to create, find and share content
  • content calendar

With a solid content strategy, when you are in your busiest season your content calendar and social media schedule provide a detailed plan and system in place to keep your content flowing.

For More Information on Content Strategy
Forbes: What Is A Content Strategy And Why Do You Need It?
Social Media Today: Your Content Marketing Strategy Should Not Be Like Mine
Content Marketing Institute: The Importance of a Strategy in Successful Content Marketing